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LOVE Abundantly & LIVE Abundantly

It is the end of April, already! So much time is spent around negative feelings, so much time lost in the pursuit of those little bits of joy which bring us happiness. The search for happiness was the topic of my last post.

Today, I continue to speak about happiness adding a new ingredient: love. I just read a book “Adultery” written by Paul Coelho”. It is the story of a young woman, wife and mother, who is searching for happiness and discovers that love is the secret to personal growth and emotional achievement.

Love Live

She discovers that only love, deep love, love for ourselves, for others, for enemies, for nature brings more love and peace. “When we abandon everything, we have nothing to loose any longer and so disappear fear, jealousy, boredom, and routine”. We then become able to open up to a new world, unknown, but full of propositions sometime unexpected but always pure of intention.

Love Live

Even the love for a pet gives a justification to a life. Life without love becomes worthless, empty. Love brings pain as birth leads to death because it is the cycle of life. When we make love the goal of our life as in acceptance, empathy, and wonderment, we can always find some degree of happiness…and so “we must love abundantly and live abundantly”.

Happiness & Aristotle

We have so many refrains about happiness: “don’t worry, be happy”, “Carpe Diem”, etc.

We have so many specialists and so many methods: spirituality, psychotherapy, alternative care, drugs under and over the counter, sports and biochemical, travel agents, love specialists, etc.

We have so many claims, research, testimonies, and experience in social science, health science, other science and in fields including everything men can use to provide answers to this “holy grail”.

All in all, except few specimens who claim they know how to live happy, we are faced with the same question, the same search, the same dilemma: “We want to be happy but we do not know how”.

I am not an expert since I am not happy every day and all the time but from readings and experiences both personal and professional, I have come to understand misunderstandings that we commonly entertain regarding Happiness.

  1.  I cannot pinpoint any given long term experiences such as marriage, child rearing, carrier, or any other endeavors that provide full time Happiness without a load of difficult moments.
  2.  I do not think that short term success is equivalent to Happiness as a long term achievement.
  3. Neither material reward nor belongings can maintain Happiness in a lifelong perspective.
  4. “Being in the Here and Now” does not equal Happiness. Being fully involved in the present moment does not necessarily give access to Happiness. It does, however, involved focus because it demands the use of all our sensing faculties and, therefore, provides a sense of peace from the stress an overworking mind creates. Taking the time to really commit to the present moment usually enhances the quality of the experience which delivers, in turn, moments of pleasure also called tiny bits of happiness.
  5. Aristotle said “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Could it mean that Happiness is greater than all the short moments of our lives during which we experience tiny bits of joy? No, it does not.  It means that one tiny bit of happiness leads to the next one and as we go throughout the day these moments have the tendency to expand and multiply giving us the impression of a good day. The concept here is that when we foster positive experiences such as a smile or a good word, acts of gratitude or support, observation or care of nature, just tiny bits of happiness, we tend to enhance and multiply positive experiences which linked together create the synergy of Happiness.

Tiny bits of can be located in many different places, situation and things. Most of us relish in social contacts. Some of us need alone moments without screens, food or drinks.  Quiet activities such as reading or listening to music are necessary for some whereas physical activities offer excellent therapeutic experiences for others. We must ask ourselves what it could be for us and collect these moments, connect them, enjoy them and rejoice at the end of the day for another great day, a whole that is now greater than the sum of its parts because it becomes Happiness!

When we speak about love, we think of relationships and couples and when we know that 50% of all marriages end up in divorce, many of us start reflecting upon the nature of relationships.

According to international research, the number of unions was roughly the same in 2004 than it was in 1970. The difference resides in the type of unions. We do see less conventional marriage but we also see an increase in gay marriages, “free unions”, partners living separately, up to the ultimate “non-commitment” of the “friends with benefit” type relationship.

We can argue that since a couple of generations, women have played a huge role in redefining roles and expectations in relationship. Also, multiple relationships and financial factors have played a crucial role in being “creative” in relationship preferences.

It remains obvious that relationship is still in high demand. Many of us, despite bad experiences, want a new go at it and although young adults start their relationship a little later than their parents, they are still wanting “in”. We want to share, we want to be loved and appreciated and we do not want to be alone.

What is new though is the desire for freedom and autonomy in the relationship. It is almost as if we are getting more attached to the type of relationship we want rather than the person we are in relationship with.

It has become part of the norm to have had several long-term relationships, marriage forever a sort of fantasy. Social media has opened a tremendous playing field for individuals looking for their “perfect” match. However, the issues in a relationship remain the same: money, sex, children education, boundaries and loyalty as well as all the personal issues that we bring in the couple from the start.

So how do we navigate between autonomy and love, freedom and relationship, stability and excitement? What do you think? Where have you been successful? In my next post, I will talk about differentiation and the concept of true connection.

Happy love year!